Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dolphins-Raiders: Week Four Matchup

Here's a rundown of Miami's week four matchup against the Oakland Raiders:

Where: Dolphin Stadium
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

  • Dolphins: Questionable - LB Zach Thomas, S Travares Tillman; Probable - TE David Martin
  • Raiders: Out - LB Isaiah Ekejiuba; Questionable - DE Derrick Burgess, LB Robert Thomas; Probable - G Robert Gallery, C Jeremy Newberry, RB Oren O'Neal
Positional Breakdown:


Running backs

Offensive line

Defensive line



Special teams


Overall Advantage

Keys to the Game:
  1. Can Ronnie Brown capitalize on his momentum from last week? Brown had a career day against the Jets, but most of his best games have come against the Jets. It will be important for him to show that he can have similar success against other teams. The Raiders are allowing 125.7 yards per game on the ground. Ronnie will have opportunities to make some plays, but if he can't, the passing attack will likely struggle against a very good secondary.
  2. How will Daunte Culpepper fare against his old team? Will revenge fuel a Culpepper resurgence or will he get into trouble trying to do to much? If Miami had any semblance of a pass rush the past three weeks, I'd predict Culpepper struggling, but that hasn't been the case.
  3. Can Miami somehow play well in all three phases of the game? They haven't been able to put together solid performances by the offense, defense, and special teams in the same week yet and it has cost them. It's simple, this "team" needs to actually play like a team if it wants to win.
Key Players:
  • Miami: Jason Taylor - the run defense and pass rush have been abysmal, but it's clear that the potential to approach last season's level remains. Jason Taylor will be key in leading this defense back to its dominating ways. He's getting another target at QB this week who will have trouble evading him if he can only get into the backfield. More importantly, he's going to have to step up in run defense and stop LaMont Jordan from having a big game.
  • Oakland: Daunte Culpepper - in his first start this season, will Culpepper flourish, falter, or play somewhere in between. His performance could dictate the outcome of the game.
My heart says to choose Miami since they are at home and it's likely to be a close game. But they just haven't given me any reason thus far to put confidence in them. The Raiders have been playing better than their record suggests (although they are by no means good), and I think they'll steal this home game from Miami. Obviously, I hope I'm wrong, but until Miami proves they can win, it'll be very hard to predict that they'll win.

Oakland wins 24-23

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